Article in the National Post about getting kids to wear helmets.
A lifetime of bike safety starts with mom and dad
Parents don't need a lecture on the wisdom of wearing a bicycle helmet. It's the kids who put up a fight. How are parents supposed to get rambunctious youngsters into the habit of donning a helmet when boarding a bike? According to experts, it's best to give your child age-appropriate reasons for wearing a helmet, and to be firm and consistent by insisting it must always be worn. Lastly, (this should go without saying): Set a good example and always wear a helmet yourself.
Wearing bicycle helmets is one of those social paradigm shifts, like the wearing of seatbelts. Such shifts are usually accompanied by the gradual cultural acceptance of the new, healthier behaviour. Nowadays, you wouldn't dream of getting into your car without buckling up. But it took years of education, tough laws (and little dashboard lights that go "bing") to make seatbelts a habit. Little by little, it became socially unacceptable to not wear a seat-belt. The same is beginning to happen with bicycle helmets.
Kids and adults often complain that helmets look too "dorky," but a new wave of colourful and expressive helmets and helmet covers is changing all that. For younger children in that "love at first bike" stage, websites such as helmetzoo.comor tail-wags.comoffer extensive selections of furry animal helmet covers, complete with ears. For the rest of us, yakkay.comcombines fashion and function with helmet covers that are almost indistinguishable from ordinary hats. Innovation is rife in the helmet field, as a brief search around the Web reveals. Among age groups, it is predictably the adolescent cohort that is most likely to give helmets the heave-ho. How should parents handle a helmet-scorning teen? Make the punishment fit the crime, I say. If the teen won't strap on a brain-bucket, then confiscate the bike. If they can't get into their heads to protect their heads and repeat the mistake, double the length of the sentence.
Helmets are meant to cushion the brain. If you or your child has a spill and the helmet takes a good knock, it's done its job. Throw it away and get a new one. Helmets aren't designed to protect you twice. For comprehensive information on all types of helmets and helmet specifications, go to thinkfirst.ca.When you consider that helmets are estimated to reduce the risk of injury by a whopping 88%, even the dorkiest helmet starts to look beautiful. Think of it as "hard-wear" for your software.
-Tim Rindlisbacher, BSc (PT), MD, Dip. Sport Med., is director of Sports Health at the Cleveland Clinic in Toronto.